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July 11, 2018

Don't cry for Paul Manafort — his nearly 24-hour jailing in solitary confinement is of the VIP variety.

President Trump's former campaign manager has been sending emails, making hundreds of calls on a personal telephone, and bathing in a private bathroom, a Wednesday filing from Special Counsel Robert Mueller showed.

MSNBC's Rachel Maddow pointed out that the documents paint a pretty rosy picture of Manafort's confinement, all things considered. "Among the unique privileges Manafort enjoys at the jail are a private, self-contained living unit, which is larger than the other inmates' units, his own bathroom and shower facility, his own personal telephone, and his own workspace to prepare for trial," the special counsel's office wrote. "Manafort is also not required to wear a prison uniform. On the monitored prison phone calls, Manafort has mentioned that he is being treated like a 'VIP.'"

Inmates are not supposed to send emails, but Mueller's office says that Manafort "appears to have developed a workaround." When his team visits the facility, they bring a laptop, which Manafort uses to read and compose emails. After his team leaves, the laptop connects to the internet and sends whatever Manafort typed out.

Manafort was sent to jail last month after he was accused of witness tampering following his charges of conspiracy and money laundering. He was previously under house arrest while awaiting trial, but it sounds like prison isn't cramping his style too badly. Summer Meza

10:37 p.m.

Let chaos reign.

With 10 candidates trying to answer detailed questions in a limited amount of time, Wednesday's Democratic debate in Miami was bound to have a few hiccups. Things got even more complicated when NBC had to cut to break unexpectedly just as the event's second hour was about to get rolling because of microphone and audio issues.

While the technical difficulties might seem like a metaphor for the overcrowded Democratic race, its not without precedent. In 1976, President Gerald Ford and his Democratic challenger Jimmy Carer had to stop their general election debate when the sound cut out. That pause lasted a lot longer than this one, too.

President Trump, at least, was stirred from his boredom by the mishap. Tim O'Donnell

10:07 p.m.

Hablas español? Former Texas Rep. Beto O'Rourke and New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker do, and they put it to full use on Wednesday night, with O'Rourke even receiving a question from Telemundo anchor and debate moderator José Diaz-Balart in Spanish.

At least a few of Thursday night's crop of Democrats were watching and taking note — and, presumably, hastily downloading Duolingo.

One Thursday candidate likely wasn't sweating it, though: South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, who speaks Spanish in addition to Norwegian, French, Italian, Maltese, Arabic, and Dari. Jeva Lange

9:53 p.m.

President Trump is not entertained.

As 2020 Democrats debated on Wednesday night, Trump, who had previously promised to live-tweet the debates, stayed uncharacteristically silent. That's apparently because, as he tweeted 35 minutes into the debates, it was "BORING!"

Trump's one-word tweet came as Democrats onstage discussed the stunning photo of a migrant father and daughter who died while crossing the Rio Grande. Beto O'Rourke, who broke into Spanish during the discussion, tweeted earlier that Trump is "responsible" for their deaths. The photo came as a visceral reminder of the ongoing humanitarian crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border. Kathryn Krawczyk

9:53 p.m.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) made her stance on health care policy very clear during Wednesday's Democratic primary debate.

When the 10 candidates on stage in Miami were asked whether they would abolish private, for-profit health insurance for a government-run plan, only two raised their hands: Warren and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio.

After Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) gave a brief defense for an incremental approach and retaining a public option, Warren expressed her support for a government-run plan. The senator, who has been surging in recent weeks, said health care is a human right and declared that she stands with her old friend Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) in support of Medicare-for-All. Sanders' supporters in the past have questioned Warren's commitment to the idea. Tim O'Donnell

9:30 p.m.

Julián Castro has a simple pledge for closing the gender pay gap.

Castro, who served as Housing and Urban Development Secretary under former President Barack Obama, was asked at Wednesday's Democratic debate how he would address the gender pay gap. He immediately brought up how his single mother raised him and his twin brother, Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-Texas), and then pledged to "pass the Equal Rights Amendment, finally."

The Equal Rights Amendment to the Constitution was proposed nearly a century ago. It passed the U.S. Senate in 1972 and has slowly made inroads in state legislatures, but has stalled ever since. Kathryn Krawczyk

9:29 p.m.

It took former Texas Rep. Beto O'Rourke exactly nine seconds to start speaking in Spanish at the Democratic debate on Wednesday night. After being asked if he would support a marginal tax rate of 70 percent on the highest earners making more than $10 million a year, O'Rourke answered instead: "This economy has got to work for everyone, and right now we know that it isn't, and it's going to take all of us coming together to make sure that it does."

He then switched to speaking Spanish, which bilingual viewers noted was a dodge as the former congressman didn't actually answer the question in either language:

Still, O'Rourke managed to impress some people with his bold decision:

New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker — who also speaks Spanish — looked particularly impressed and surprised:

Several of the 2020 Democrats are multilingual. In addition to O'Rourke and Booker, Julián Castro and Pete Buttigieg have also given interviews in full or in part in Spanish, Politico reports. Jeva Lange

9:10 p.m.

So far, it seems, the Democratic primary candidates who are slated to take the debate stage on Thursday in Miami are perfectly content to allow their Wednesday counterparts their moment in the spotlight.

Former Vice President Joe Biden reportedly won't even be in Miami until Thursday, though he has been keeping busy — he's reportedly still in Wilmington cooped up in a hotel for "debate camp." The front-runner, NBC News reports, is in the midst of "marathon" practice sessions and will watch Wednesday's event from Delaware.

Despite the intensity of Biden's preparation, though, he and his team have downplayed Thursday's debate. "It's a little bit of an exaggeration calling it a debate," Biden told reporters earlier this month. "I mean there's not much time."

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) is already in Miami, where he's been greeted by some cheering crowds, but he's seemingly keeping his thoughts to himself.

Other notable candidates who have to wait until Thursday, like South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg (D) and Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), are also reportedly in Miami already, but they too have kept a low profile on Wednesday. Tim O'Donnell

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